Thursday, December 29, 2022

It's another edition of "Christ, What An Asshole!"

So one the dude-bros that Musk let back onto Twitter in November was the "social media personality" and wealthy kickboxer Andrew Tate - and it didn't take long before Tate indulged himself in needless, gratituous, misogynistic insults: Twitter exploded - here's a typical reaction:

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Keeping up with the Ukraine War

from this tweet:
The resilience and courage of the Ukraine people is one of the most inspirational events our society has ever seen. 
This New York Times photo essay Ukraine Under Attack: Images from the Russian Invasion shows what Ukrainians have had to endure:

Kyiv apartment residents manage with makeshift electricity during power outages, November (Lynsey Addario NYT)

Monday, December 26, 2022

Some amazing Christmas stories

For millions of people in Canada and in the US, it has been an awful Christmas - terrible weather, monster storms, no power, cancelled flights, people stuck in transit. Dozens of people have died. 
The only uplifting aspect in this situation is the stories we are reading now about how ordinary people pitched in to do whatever they could -- stories of courage, resilience, and willingness to help. These people are extraordinary: They traveled from South Korea. They Got Stranded Near Buffalo:
....Then, on Friday at 2 p.m., with the storm already swirling and snow rapidly piling up, making roads impassable, there was a knock at the door. Two men, part of a group of nine tourists from South Korea that was traveling to Niagara Falls, asked for shovels to dig their passenger van out of a ditch.
And so an unlikely holiday weekend began, with the Campagnas welcoming the travelers, along with their driver, as house guests....
They spent the weekend swapping stories, watching the Buffalo Bills defeat the Chicago Bears on Christmas Eve and sharing delicious Korean home-cooked meals prepared by the guests, like jeyuk bokkeum, a spicy stir-fried pork dish, and dakdori tang, a chicken stew laced with fiery red pepper. To the surprise and glee of the Korean guests, Mr. Campagna and his wife, who are both fans of Korean food, had all the necessary condiments on hand: mirin, soy sauce, Korean red pepper paste, sesame oil and chili flakes. There was also kimchi and a rice cooker.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Best Christmas TV ads

It's the most wonderful time of the year! -- or at least, its the time when companies actually put some thought into their television ads, and when ad companies do their best work too. Here are some this year that I liked.
John Lewis & Partners is known in Britain for their Christmas ads. Here is a great one, The Beginner:  

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

How ya gonna keep 'em in Paree after they've been down on the farm?

One of the lasting impacts of the pandemic, I think, will be the destruction of the "downtown office" concept as an organizing principle for cities. 
Historically, it has always taken wars to get North Americans to travel -- the Civil War was the first time that significant numbers of Americans ever travelled around their own country. In World War One, we got the song "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down in the Farm After They've Seen Paree?" as an question of why the soldiers who had travelled overseas would ever be content with living a rural life again. Likewise, World War Two resulted in millions of Americans and Canadians travelling to places they would never have gone to otherwise, within their own countries and over the oceans. 
Now, we have the aftermath of the pandemic - another kind of war, really - that showed just about everyone that we they can be just as productive working at home as we were in the office - providing that the internet is working, of course - and without the hassles of public transit, commuting, parking, office politics, lunch line-ups, crowds, somebody microwaving fish, cube farms, etc. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Today's News: The Beginning of the End?

Three stories tonight seem to have the same theme -- that it may be the beginning of the end for Pierre Poilievre, for Elon Musk and for Donald Trump. 

First, for Pierre Poilievre
Evan Scrimshaw analyzes the Angus Reid poll tonight, comparing Poilievre at 3 months to the other Conservative leaders, and it is NOT good news for PP.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Today's News: Twitter, We Hardly Knew Ye


The chaos on Twitter continues -- but I am now thinking it is forcing us to think about social media in a new way.  I am seeing a number of thoughtful posts lately and here are some good ones. 

This is a great summary from Ryan Broderick at Garbage Day - Elon Musk is learning what Twitter actually is:’s not just large-scale social upheaval that has been driven by Twitter. The app has, at this point, disrupted most industries. Newsrooms, Starbucks, and Amazon warehouses have unionized on the app. Studios have ousted predatory executives with a hashtag. Politicians, both left and right, have used the site to sweep elections in a flurry of shitposts and dunk-based populism. And stock markets have rallied, and crashed, thanks to ridiculous Twitter memes turned viral pump-and-dump schemes.
Twitter’s core experience has been, and still is, disruption. And we have spent over a decade trying to determine if it’s good disruption or bad, left-wing or right, progressive or conservative, but the truth is, it’s just disruption. It’s a random social chaos machine. Over the summer, as Elon Musk finalized the purchase of the site, that chaos machine was turned in on itself. The company was overrun with leaks and drama, which all became trending topics. And after Musk bought it, the company literally began livetweeting its own dismantling. Now that it has toppled itself, and all that’s left is Musk’s various whims, the manic energy of the app appears to be localized entirely inside of Musk’s brain. The man is jacked directly into the feed and it turns out the feed is screaming back at him, “you fucking suck.”
And so we all have to sit around and watch the richest man in the world process in real-time how cringe, how embarrassing, how hated he is. The joke has always been that Twitter causes “psychic damage,” but that joke is real now. Twitter is currently doing to one man’s psyche what it has done to countless societies around the world. He paid $44 billion for a website he believed was a “biological neural net,” a digital collective unconscious that he could use to take us to Mars, and it turns out that frothing Id hates him. Can you imagine how painful the cognitive dissonance must be? If people boo you and think you’re a shameless loser then what’s all the money for? Why are you sleeping in your office? If money can’t make people like you then what was any of it for? 
Here is another good comment:
At Defector, David Roth writes about The Eternal Mystery of a Rich Man's Politics when he delves into Musk's recent posts denigrating Fauci and his supposedly-"woke" fans:
There are many such posts out there, because this sort of thing—signals of distress that toggle between thundering proclamations of Total War and a sort of sweaty gloating—is more or less the sound that older conservatives and the people who make their living pandering to older conservatives make. There isn’t a political program to speak of, beyond some dire retributive fantasies—prosecutions, tribunals, prison camps, political murder, normal shit—buffered with ROFL emojis and opaque in-group jargon. It is not important, or anyway not very interesting, how serious these people are about this. Given how heatedly they fantasize about it in public, they surely wouldn’t have any problem with mass violence against their enemies, although they’d prefer someone do it for them. But also there is not a great deal of thought evident in it. When you hear a bunch of dogs barking, you wouldn’t assume that they’re having a conversation. They’re just doing what their buddies are doing.
Online reactionary politics is a fan community before it is anything else; as with Donald Trump, the way to tell that Musk is an active participant is how obviously starstruck he is by the corny dingbats that make up its firmament. Where Trump lived for the approval of Fox News’s glitching poreless on-air goblins, Musk has been queasily quick with an “exactly” in the mentions of various reactionary influencers: the anti-trans activist that solicits bomb threats to children’s hospitals, or the one fellow from the Koch-backed Turning Point USA organization whose face seems to be shrinking, or Cat Turd 2. If it is embarrassing to know who these people are—and it is extremely embarrassing to know who those people are—it is more embarrassing still to have mistaken these relentlessly self-serving grifters for friends.
What all of that decidedly is not, however, is mysterious. Musk’s politics, however heterodox he himself might secretly be, appear very much to be those of an extremely wealthy 51-year-old man with an entirely commonplace conservative media diet. There are only so many interesting ways and even fewer interesting reasons to adopt these politics; the most common one, which again is the one that Musk seems to have chosen, is to simply let the combined inertia of your circumstances and incuriosity back you into them. That he is now someplace so strange—winking at QAnon shit, already—seems mostly to reflect how conservative politics have moved in that direction; Musk, typically, seems not to have given any of it much thought. The extremities of his wealth and strange upbringing, and his personal peculiarities and the limits of his capacities for empathy or insight all probably played some role, but this is true of every other butthead that ever aged into reactionary politics. In time, these people realize what they actually believed all along and embrace what has always mattered most to them. In this sense, too, Musk’s little blurts of umbrage and upset are just like those of all the other reactionary pilgrims on their own lonely journeys. Separately but in unison, they slough off everything and everyone that is not them, either out of principle or pique or just because they find themselves losing interest; instead of talking to the people they used to talk to, they just shout at everyone. Twitter has always been a good place for that.
Over at The Atlantic, Tom Nichols writes about Musk's "calvinball" games in The Childish Drama of Elon Musk:
...Musk’s weird rampage does have an impact on the way the world around you exchanges information. Twitter has many levels; for some people, it’s a place to talk about oddball hobbies and exchange pet pictures. (Have you met my cat?) But it’s also an extremely valuable conduit for news, information, culture, and argument. Twitter doesn’t control the news, but it helps to shape public debate about many issues. Indeed, Musk’s entire public rationale for taking over Twitter was to preserve an important venue for free speech.
Musk’s defense of free speech is nonsense. One of the world’s richest men—who is not shy about his politics or his contempt for the free press—has reinstated Donald Trump, white supremacists, and any number of dangerous malefactors to Twitter, but he has made it clear that Donie O’Sullivan is beyond the pale. He has purchased an important and influential piece of the public square not to enhance public debate, but to punish people who annoy him....
I think he lost his cool because for more than a month, he’s been in way over his head with an impulsive purchase, his fortunes are plunging, and he got booed by a crowd of thousands of people at a Dave Chappelle performance—which, for a guy like Musk, is probably an unforgivable injury from what should be an adoring public.
But we can at least shelve all of Musk’s blather about free speech. Twitter is an important part of how we disseminate and process news, and it’s now in the hands of an irritable and unpredictable child. This is one more step in the infantilization of American life, in which we must accommodate and work around the behavior of grown men and women who not so long ago would have been pushed out of public life either by our collective political disgust or by responsible shareholders who would insist that their corporate leaders get back to work instead of making a spectacle of themselves.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

From the Substacks - Ukraine, Carol of the Bells, Emergencies Act, Musk, & Academia

This may take you a minute but just wait, you'll get it soon:

We are starting to get into the "end of the year" takes where people are summarizing what happened this year and what it all means. 
First up, a very useful summary from Timothy Snyder's Thinking About... substack: Gratitude to Ukraine:
... Americans (and many others) owe Ukrainians a huge debt of gratitude for their resistance to Russian aggression. For some mixture of reasons, we have difficulty acknowledging this. To do so, we have to find the words. Seven that might help are: security, freedom, democracy, courage, pluralism, perseverance, and generosity.
...For American policymakers and security analysts, it is literally dumbfounding that another country can do so much for our own security, using methods that we ourselves could not have employed. Ukraine has reduced the risk of war with Russia from a posture of simple delf-defense. Ukraine has reduced the threat of a war with China without confronting China, and indeed while pursuing good relations with China. None of that was available to Americans. And yet the consequence is greater security for Americans...
Snyder ends his piece with a very interesting history of the Carol of the Bells, the performance of the Ukraine children's choir at Carnagie Hall, and the deep meaning of this song for Ukraine, particularly this Christmas.
And this is a beautiful version, too: Moving on, several writers have been talking this week about the Emergencies Act hearings and what they mean. I liked David Moscrop's In Defence of Invoking the Emergencies Act:
...I was in Ottawa during the occupation. Not only was I writing about it—a task that yielded endless grief and hate mail from so-called “freedom” supporters—I was living it. My apartment was a short walk from Parliament Hill and the besieged Wellington Street. It was just a slightly longer one to the neighborhoods where the occupiers were terrorizing residents.
...Society has a right to defend itself. At the time, we had no idea who was in charge in Ottawa, no idea whether violence would escalate, and no idea when the occupation would end. The occupiers were, in essence, calling for a coup. There was a log jam that needed breaking. By invoking the Act, the government seems to have done just that. And there’s evidence from Commission testimony that supports that common sense take.
During testimony Ottawa’s interim police chief, Steve Bell, said the Emergencies Act was “helpful” in ending the occupation. He cited “four key areas” of assistance, including speeding up external police support by “swearing in members” from outside of the city, lowering barriers to mobilizing tow trucks to remove the semi-trucks, and providing financial tools to investigate funding.
Bell said the “main benefit” of the Act was that it provided “a legal framework for us to be able to operating within.” In essence, the Act was a foundation. As Bell put it, “It allowed for us to very clearly articular to our frontline officers what their powers were…so that they could understand what to do and how to execute it.”
Money was essential to keeping the occupation in place. By removing or restricting funds, the government helped clear a path to end the stalemate. The Emergencies Act facilitated the rapid freezing of bank accounts associated with the blockades and occupation. It also instructed insurance companies “to cancel or suspend the insurance policy for any vehicle taking part in a prohibited assembly.” Plus, it “subjected crowdfunding platforms and payment service providers”—two of the main sources of occupation donations and funding—"to the registration and reporting requirements under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.” That measure that is now permanent.
The same characters returned to Ottawa post-occupation, but subsequent visits were met by a city prepared.
For another take, here is a useful article from Wesley Wark’s National Security and Intelligence Newsletter - The Globe gets it wrong (shock, horror) - a response to  a Globe and Mail editorial demanding that the Trudeau cabinet release the legal opinion that supported the Emergencies Act. 
Wark writes:
...The legal thresholds piece is not the main issue of importance to Canadians. The Globe’s call for a release of the legal advice provided by the Attorney General to the government is, at this stage, largely beside the point. The key issue is how the events of the Freedom Convoy came to be seen as a national security crisis by the government.
...five reasons were presented to Parliament to justify the finding of a public order emergency. Three of the five reasons broaden the security threat lens beyond the language of the CSIS Act—threats to economic security resulting from the border blockades; adverse effects on Canada’s relationships with its trading partners; the breakdown in supply chains. Whether it was right to broaden the understanding of threats to the security of Canada in this way is open to debate, but for the government it clearly represented its assessment of key threats on the ground.
The important thing to note is that in widening its definition of threats under the EA, the government did not cavalierly discard the CSIS Act threshold. It incorporated it. Two of the five reasons directly address the CSIS Act threshold, especially s2c) of the CSIS Act.
In a comment I made to this article, I also noted these two points:
The EA was necessary for two reasons, I think, neither of which were anticipated by the parliamentarians [of earlier years]
1. Canada needed a high profile show of force to convince American business that the border blockades were OVER! and would not be allowed to restart again
2. The banking threat - to freeze accounts, confiscate vehicles, etc - chilled the "hot-tub rock concert" party atmosphere; it intimidated not only the Ottawa truckers themselves, but also anybody across the country who had supported them. The mood changed overnight.
In other political news, Evan Scrimshaw writes about the recent Ontario byelection - Mississauga-Lakeshore Recap: Turns out Poilievere Ain't Inevitable?
... really funny watching pundits who spent much of the summer proclaiming Poilievre’s inevitability suddenly claim this matters. It doesn’t, but if it makes the commentariat get their heads out of their asses it was probably a good thing.
There are two things that are both fundamentally true about Canadian politics right now – there’s a lot of activity, and almost no news....
...The Tories have the same problem they had when I coined Scrimshaw’s Paradox: any leader who gets through the membership cannot win a general election. It was true in February, and it feels true now, because the Tory members continue to elect insane nutters...
Of course, Elon Musk is still in the news. For some reason I don't understand, a throw-away comment I made about people booing Musk at Dave Chappelle's show got 4,300 "likes" on Twitter.  I guess it just struck people as a good take: Over at Garbage Day, Ryan Broderick is describing Elon Musk this way: this point, I also think Musk is just a being of pure impulse. He’s essentially a flatworm with a rocket company. A naked central nervous system of raw urges wandering the halls of Twitter, asking people if they know good QAnon memes to tweet out.
Finally, here is likely the funniest academic research article I have ever read - Things Could Be Better
Abstract: Eight studies document what may be a fundamental and universal bias in human imagination: people think things could be better. When we ask people how things could be different, they imagine how things could be better (Study 1). The bias doesn't depend on the wording of the question (Studies 2 and 3). It arises in people's everyday thoughts (Study 4). It is unrelated to people's anxiety, depression, and neuroticism (Study 5). A sample of Polish people responding in English show the same bias (Study 6), as do a sample of Chinese people responding in Mandarin (Study 7). People imagine how things could be better even though it's easier to come up with ways things could be worse (Study 8). Overall, it seems, human imagination has a bias: when people imagine how things could be, they imagine how things could be better. 
The article was written by this guy - Columbia Business School post-doctoral research scholar Adam Mastroianni - who also writes about the whole academic peer review process in his Experimental History substack The Rise and Fall of Peer Review:
Here’s a simple question: does peer review actually do the thing it’s supposed to do? Does it catch bad research and prevent it from being published?
It doesn’t.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Today's News: "Boo-urns" is trending

I think I should post this before all these tweets get deleted.
And to begin, can I just say "Christ, what an asshole!" 
Here is how it started with Elon Musk yesterday: And here is how its going: Yeah, Elon, you can believe this if you like: And here is how people reacted: Thanks, George, for this truth: Finally, I loved this:

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Today's News: Yes, I am still wearing my mask

This is the time of year I gather cartoons and here are two that seem to represent what we went through in 2022.
First, the beginning of 2022:

And second, the end:

This is from this outstanding article by University of Waterloo statistician Bill Comeau, taking about the importance of wearing masks to combat the tridemic we are now dealing with. He concludes with these recommendations for where masks are needed most urgently now:
... the three C’s of Crowded places, Closed spaces, and Close-contact settings, and areas with greater vulnerable populations: schools, universities, public transit, congregate living, health-related settings like doctor’s offices, pharmacies, grocery stores, concerts and other mass indoor event areas, indoor weddings and funerals, and stores subject to crowding during holiday shopping season. It would be good if employers recommended workplace masking during this time as well. 
 For mask mandates to work, there needs to be strong and committed leadership from the top to ensure there is timely action and targeting, clear goals, transparent sharing of science and evidence, helpful public education, widespread and active messaging, and ongoing communication.
... No one step will solve everything, but as Yogi Berra might say, doing nothing accomplishes nothing.
Credit this tweet for alerting me to this article. I am glad that MedTwitter still seems to be functioning even as the rest of Twitter begins to collapse. Here is a photo I will never forget -- I first saw it in mid-2020, I think -- an exhausted emergency room doctor, kneeling on the floor, as he phones someone to tell them their loved one has died of Covid: We will be getting boosters and wearing masks for the indefinite future -- all the Covid revisionism and wishful thinking is not going to change that:

Friday, December 09, 2022

Today's News: From the Substacks

Before I get into the rest of this piece, I just have to follow up my previous Tridemic post with this terrible story: “This baby died on the floor, on the floor of the Emergency Room because there were no stretchers. When I put my dog down it sounded more ethical and beautiful than what happened to this child” The Ontario coroner is now investigating what happened. No matter what details may get changed a little, it is a tragedy.

Now that Twitter is dying, I really can't do my "From the Bookmarks" posts very well anymore. 
But I have taken advantage of Substack free subscriptions to check out a bunch of substacks - I go through their sometimes-daily newsletters to gather news and views. 
 And yes, its sorta amusing, really, that what is old becomes new again: Here are the stories I have been noticing lately: 
Paul Wells: Paul Wells is doing an OUTSTANDING job covering what is happening at the National Gallery lately, where four of Canada's most respected art curators were fired in November, apparently because they can't get behind a new "strategic plan" apparently drafted by an "interim" gallery director who has no actual curatorial experience.
(On a side note, one of the reasons I was looking forward to retirement was so I never had to hear the words "strategic plan" ever again - because no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy!)
What is happening at the Gallery sounds pretty bad to me. Wells reports today that Heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez is being deluged with letters from the Canadian art world - both staff unions, private art galleries across Canada, major donors, former members of the gallery's board, former curators -- all complaining about the chaos, as he reports in National Gallery of Canada: It's Unanimous:
... I am aware of no public correspondenc by anyone with long knowledge of the Gallery who supports the board or the new staff leadership.
Senator Patricia Bovey has some advice for Rodriguez. Bovey, a Trudeau appointee from Manitoba, is a former director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and a former board member of the NGC. So she knows board responsibilities, the work of a museum CEO, and the legislative process. She’s just sitting there in the East Block waiting for someone to ask for advice. What’s her advice for Rodriguez? The prompt creation of a search committee to look for a new permanent director of the NGC. Public announcement of that committee’s members, who should include people with superb records in art history and museology.
Honestly at this point, the minister shouldn’t need to be told to do that. But Sen. Bovey has another tip: Rodriguez should meet, and publicly announce he has met, the seven former senior curators who wrote him to sound the alarm. Mostly so they’ll feel heard. Also because they are heroes of Canadian art. They include Diana Nemiroff, who co-curated the Gallery’s first major Indigenous survey exhibition 30 years ago and who literally wrote the book on women leaders of the Gallery. And Charlie Hill, who was the Gallery’s chief curator of Canadian art for 34 years and who marched for gay rights on Parliament Hill in 1971. Hill has spent his life seeking — and not shying away from — brave conversations. I remember when a minister of Canadian Heritage would have met a group like this in the first few days of a national controversy.
Scrimshaw Unscripted: Evan Scrimshaw is talking about next Monday's federal byelection in Mississauga-Lakeshore:
...The Federal Liberals are defending their least-safe Mississauga seat, won by just over 6% in 2019. If the Tories are going to win the next election, they don’t have to win this seat, and anyone who claims that a theoretical Liberal win says very much about Poilievre’s appeal is full of shit, but they need to win some number of seats kind of close to this. It’s a suburban seat, obviously, and the kind of seat where the Tories have struggled in recent years because of the Global Fucking Realignment (start the drinking game now, I guess).
My instinct is the Liberals will win it, but that it doesn’t matter. The Liberals are running Charles Sousa, Kathleen Wynne’s former Finance Minister and MPP for the seat, while the Conservatives are running a cop of seemingly limited notoriety. Byelections in recent years have been wonky...
...Poilievre has been nowhere recently and Lakeshore isn’t exactly fertile ground for Skippy’s brand of conservatism.
...A Conservative win is absolutely possible for two reasons – it’s the kind of seat that would be very close on provincial swing and byelection turnout effects are wild and can be extremely variable – but there’s nothing that makes me think that this potential result would be indicative of much....
To be entirely consistent, however, a Liberal win is nothing to write home about and shouldn’t be taken to mean fuck all for 2025.
Routine Proceedings: Dale Smith is covering the arguments between the Auditor General and the CRA over whether Canadians have really been doing so much cheating with pandemic government support funds - The Auditor-General is not Infallible:
...My bigger problem is the fact that this disagreement is somehow scandalising because we have an unhealthy veneration of Officers of Parliament and the Auditor General most especially in this country. A virtual cult has been built around them, particularly by media, who love nothing more than watching the AG go to town on criticising the government of the day, no matter which stripe of government it is, and they will uncritically believe absolutely everything the AG says because they are independent, and therefore must be inherently credible. There are similar problems with this lack of critical engagement with the Parliamentary Budget Officer (and the current one has been a real problem around that, as he picks methodologies out of thin air), and again, his word is gospel. But they’re not infallible. The previous AG ballsed up the Senate audit really badly, and it was an absolute mess, but nobody wanted to talk about it because you can’t badmouth the Auditor General. It’s like a cardinal sin in this city. And departments should be allowed to have disagreements, because the AG isn’t going to get it right every time. That’s just a physical impossibility, and we should acknowledge that fact, but as we see, when it happens, it’s like heresy. People need to grow up, and media needs to be more critical of these Officers, because media is the only check they have.
For all of their flaws, the federal pandemic support programs were both outstanding and absolutely necessary:

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Today's news: Its a "Tridemic" now

I guess they're calling it a "tridemic" now -- the triple hammer of Covid, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that is destroying our hospitals. 
This time, its the children: But we KNOW what to do to help people avoid getting sick - we just have to DO IT! The enduring tragedy of 2020-21 was the deaths of millions of old people due to Covid in Long Term Care facilities across Canada and throughout the world. 
And this is still happening - read this whole thread:

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Today's News: What we learned

This weekend there was a fascinating article in the Globe and Mail summarizing what was learned from the Emergencies Act testimony at the POEC. Here are some revelations of note: 

Convoy leaders egged on the protestors but did not risk their own trucks:
...only through the inquiry did the public learn that while the leaders encouraged others to put their trucks – and therefore their livelihoods – on the line, most of the convoy leaders did not. Mr. Barber removed his truck, ‘Big Red,’ from the “red zone” after the second weekend. Mr. King left his motorhome in a “secure location” and hitched a ride downtown. Ms. Belton left her big rig at home, as did Mr. Dichter.
Stephanie Carvin, an associate professor at Carleton University and a former federal intelligence analyst, said the convoy leaders have shown – at the protests and in the inquiry – that “they see reality entirely differently.”
“They’re not delusional,” she said, but added, “I’m not sure anything would have convinced them that they were causing harm.”
Ottawa police failed:
...In an emergency situation, a police services board and a police chief are the only ones that can ask the OPP to take over when a police force is not providing “adequate and effective” policing, Prof. Kempa said. Mr. Sloly’s senior commanders believed he thought that other police services coming to Ottawa to help craft an enforcement plan illustrated a plot against him, the inquiry has heard.
Police stood by as protesters formed supply lines of fuel-filled jerry cans and indiscriminately set off fireworks near condos and office buildings. Yet Mr. Sloly testified that the chaos never met the threshold where he should have relinquished command. And then-Ottawa police board chair Diane Deans testified that she couldn’t recall if the board ever considered making a request to the OPP.
The chaos should have triggered an automatic threshold for the OPP to take control, but no such mechanism exists, Prof. Kempa said.
The Ontario government failed:
...the Emergencies Act assumes all parties do their jobs, as expected, not that the Ottawa police would be “dysfunctional” or that Mr. Ford would decide “he didn’t want to get involved and kick it up to the federal government.”
“It assumed that the Ontario government would be working and solving this and it wasn’t. So what do you do?” she said.
And Canadian intelligence agencies weren't as helpful as they could have been:
...The inquiry has heard that the protests in Ottawa and elsewhere did not rise to the level of a national-security threat, under the CSIS Act. Yet CSIS director David Vigneault testified that he recommended the act’s invocation – after receiving a legal opinion from the Justice Department that the Emergencies Act could take a broader interpretation than the CSIS Act.
On Feb. 14, about an hour before the act’s invocation was announced, Mr. Trudeau received a memo from Canada’s top public servant recommending the act’s use. A detailed threat assessment was meant to follow “under separate cover,” but it did not. Jody Thomas, national security and intelligence adviser, had sought that threat assessment earlier that day but she testified that it “fell through the cracks and we were overtaken by events.”
I'm not sure what the POEC will make of all this, except perhaps to conclude that Mulroney and Beatty were maybe indulging in a bit of wishful thinking back in 1987 when they thought the process of declaring a state of emergency would be polite, orderly, and unencumbered by bureaucratic incompetence at several levels.

Monday, December 05, 2022


From TG, this is the funniest summary ever of the #TwitterGate #TwitterFiles Musk-Tabbi story. 
I'm so glad somebody invented emojis:

  I am doing this as an image, rather than embedding the tweets, because the Twitter Bird needs to show.
To follow the whole thread, click here 
The Daily Mail reports that Musk is furious that his Friday story wasn't covered by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS or ABC. 
I think Tucker had a bit about it on Fox - of course. 
The New York Times is actually running an article Monday, in Section B, page 5.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

From the bookmarks - Elon, Matt, Ye, and the gang....

I loved this! Found it on Mastodon, hand-made by  

Tonight the world of Twitter waited with bated breath for Musk's big Hunter Biden reveal. Pffft (a wet sqibb sound)!

What a pointless attempt at "got-ya!" journalism. 

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Today's News: WTF is a Henry the 8th act?

The most useful thread I saw today, explaining what a "Henry the 8th" clause is and how it works: Here is a key tweet: And the thread ends here: This is why Premier Loon thinks she can pass a Sovereignty Act that will permit Cabinet ministers to change Alberta laws without having to get a vote in the Alberta legislature for them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Today's News: Feeling so misunderstood

I don't understand why Alberta and Saskatchewan feel so misunderstood and persecuted and hard-done-by all the time. 

Fact of life: Canada's population is not fairly distributed across the country and it never will be. Most of our people live in Ontario and Quebec, with several million more in Vancouver. The Prairies have just 20 per cent of the country. 

Fact of life: A quarter of Canada lives here - in the Ontario Golden Horseshoe:

Fact of life: That's also where much of Canada's money is made, too - industry, banks, manufacturing, transportation, etc. -- though when it comes to the economy, this year the Prairies are actually expected to do a little better than anywhere else in the country:

Alberta and Saskatchewan, quit yer bitchin'! We're not living in the Red Wedding, no matter how much our politicians want us to trash the East.  We are, actually, great places to live (for most of the year anyway) with friendly people, beautiful scenery, a terrific economy. 
Please can't we just stop all this pissing and moaning and complaining?

Monday, November 28, 2022


There was some beautiful stuff happening here: And this was beautiful too: And here some other great stuff: This discussion about cats and dogs reminds me of one of my all-time favorites:

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Today's News: FluTruxKlan hearings wrap up

Hey everyone -- first of all, please forgive the lack of posts these days - along with thousands of others, I have been searching for a social media platform to keep up with the day's commentary, as Twitter continues to implode into a racist hellhole. 
But the Twitter platform is miles ahead of all the other social media sits for a blogger like me - no wonder they had so many staff to keep it going. I have been using their Bookmarks, Lists, and Embed Post functions just about every day, and unfortunately the other social media sites just don't offer these features in such an easily usable format. 
I am still searching -- Mastodon does have some of the twitter features, but I am still finding it too clunky to use easily.  Tribel looks good but has no way to save posts so they can be retrieved later. Instagram and TikToc don't have political posts as far as I can understand them. Just yesterday I got accepted onto the Post platform, and it looks promising. 
Also, a large number of the people I follow now have their own Substacks or daily newsletters so this is promising too.  Many of them are navigating to the Post too, so that platform will be more useful I think.
Anyway, I will get it sorted out as soon as I am able. 

In the meantime, Canadian news yesterday and today was full of the testimonies at the FluTruxKlan inquiry (AKA the Public Emergency Order Commission). Overall, Trudeau and the other cabinet ministers and PMO staff did a good job explaining why they turned to the Emergency order to resolve the crisis last February:

This thread from pundit Scott Reid sums it up:

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Great stuff!

Here's some of the funny stuff I have collected recently.

Can you find both the rabbit and the mouse? Dogs, bruh!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Today's News: Update about the war in Ukraine

I haven't posted as much about Ukraine lately so I wanted to assemble an update now. 

First, this remarkable photo: When this war is over, and Ukraine has won, I expect Ukrainians will create a mile-wide border of salted soil, so they never have anything to do with Russia ever again. 
As Adam Silverman said in his Balloon Juice post last night: 
I just want to take a moment and note, again, that what Russia is doing and has been doing since the start of the re-invasion, is the systemic targeting of civilians, civilian residential areas, civilian infrastructure such as power generation, power transmission, water treatment facilities, reservoirs, railways, agriculture, hospitals, schools, cultural facilities, the widespread mining of Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia, the kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia, the use of Ukrainian citizens as hostages, etc. The vast majority of Russia’s targeting in the re-invasion constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. ....the news media regularly fails to make this clear. 
A powerful statement.
In regard to progress in the war itself, it appears that the war is in a lull phase at the moment, until the mud is frozen and heavy trucks can move again: But Russians are still dying: I read Silverman's account tonight expressing concerns about Russia increasing its alliances with Iran and with Syria - previously my concern was whether the Russia-Ukraine war would spread to Europe, but a spread to involve the Middle East might also be problematic. Canada hosted the Halifax International Security Forum this weekend, described as the world's leading security conference for democracies: Here is more detail on what Zelenskyy said:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on Canada to help spearhead a long-term peace plan with Russia, as the nearly 10-month war in Ukraine enters a critical phase with the approach of winter.
The Ukrainian leader threw down the gauntlet in a pre-recorded video address to the Halifax International Security Forum, where senior government and military officials from Canada and around the world are gathering this weekend.
Zelenskyy, whose country was invaded by Russia in February, told participants that real and enduring peace between Kyiv and Moscow will require agreement on 10 different areas.
Those include the withdrawal of Russian forces, the release of prisoners, the securing of Ukraine's nuclear, food and energy security, the restoration of his country's territorial integrity and a tribunal to hold those responsible to account.
The Ukrainian president went on to encourage countries to "choose which item you can help with," adding: "I believe that Canada, which strongly supports us, will also choose one of the peace formula items for itself and will show all strands of leadership."

And I wonder how those Russian soldiers will do after this war, too: Here is some sad news: Finally a couple of posts about some of the ways Canada continues to help Ukraine: